"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
THE INCREASE OF THE KINGDOM
AND DOOM FOLLY
Earth has not yet witnessed the magnitude of ministry that shall be revealed through the manifest sons of God. In this hour at the transition of the ages God is preparing His perfected and matured body, anointed with the seven-fold intensified fullness of the Spirit of God, and this in-Christed company shall appear on the cosmic stage of history with ten thousand times more power than any of the revival showers of the past centuries. God has moved deeply upon my heart to proclaim to God's elect that there is soon coming a great and glorious manifestation of Christ before the face of all nations and the whole earth. There will be a full and complete revelation of Jesus Christ in His many brethren, and it shall usher in the next stage of the Kingdom of God on earth -- the dominion of the Kingdom over all the living nations of earth. I know God is on the move, and my deepest desire is to be a part of this manifestation that will usher in a new day for this sin-cursed planet. The Lord wants to reveal Himself in our midst in a new, dramatic, and powerful way, and through us to creation.
In this message I want to deal with some issues that are vital to our understanding and appropriating the purposes of God for our lives in this important hour.
History is full of the vain-glorious attempts of well-meaning men to calculate, interpret, and figure out the date of the coming of Christ, the beginning of the great tribulation, the so-called rapture of the church, the manifestation of the sons of God, the beginning of the millennium, or some other great event, real or imagined, in relation to the coming of the Kingdom of God. But all the prophecies and booklets are misleading when they suggest that this Day comes according to some calculation of time!. Many misconceptions regarding the "last times" are in circulation -- and only by the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God do we know the things that pertain to our Day. The HOLY SPIRIT BEARS WITNESS that the manifestation of the sons of God is the next great event on God's prophetic schedule -- but I know of no system of chronology, no Biblical time-prophecy, no pattern of cycles, no numerical calculations, or prophecy that can accurately tell us the hour, day, year, or decade when this coming glory shall break forth!
The elect of the Lord has little interest in dates and years, or in the passing of time. Our primary interest, yea, our all-consuming passion is to KNOW HIM in the fullness of Himself! It is that we might experience Christ in the perfection of His nature, in the fullness of His spirit and power, in the accomplishment of His purposes, and in the revelation of His sonship glory, that the creation might behold HIM in the dawn of the New Day. Then everything and everyone will be blessed and quickened because of what He has wrought in us, not merely because a date on the calendar has arrived. Only by the power of Christ raised up in us, the Light that He is, can anything anywhere be transformed by our hand. By His Light all darkness shall be dispelled. The arising of His glory, the dawning of His Day is not a date to be calculated, but an attainment to be realized! It is the power of the voice of God, and the wonder of the work of God in His elect that alerts us to the reality of this Day -- not dates, times, cycles, prophecies, numbers, or calculations of any kind.
Look into any period of history and you will find prophets of all types who claimed they knew when the next end-time event would occur. Most have claimed to have discovered the hidden secret to the Bible's time-prophecies or found hidden meanings in Biblical numbers, cycles, or chronologies. Some time ago brother Ray Prinzing penned the following wise observation: "'Searching what manner of time...' seems to be the occupation of many. We find there are those of a more negative nature that keep close watch of all the doom events -- every earthquake, flood, war, etc., has them asking the question, 'Does this fulfill the prophecy, and indicate that the end of the age is here?' And there are those who look for the more positive elements, and with every surge and quickening of the Spirit, they are convinced that it means that the end is nigh.
"Some take their clue from Daniel, who said, 'I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem' (Dan. 9:2), and so they study 'the books,' every one they can find that is related to prophetic events, to see if they can understand the NUMBER OF THE YEARS. Let it be clear, we have no condemnation for those who make these 'searches,' and if the Spirit quickens any fragment of truth to them, we are delighted to share it, and hold it before the Lord for His quickening, and following confirmations. Some would try to search out the times with a solar calendar, others use the lunar calendar. Some would go back to Israel's times of old to see if they can glean understanding and relate it to these present times. And all the while, we find our own challenge being to hold a balance between looking to the future for its glorious fulfillment of that TOTAL SALVATION, and our living in the present times with a deep consciousness of just ABIDING IN HIM."
Efforts to set dates for the so-called "end time" began early in the Church's history, some as early as the first century after Christ. Saint Augustine (A.D. 354-430) talked about the end of human history. He tried to determine when human history would end. He divided human history into six ages of 1,000 years each. This was based on the six days of creation and Psalm 90:4, "For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday," and II Peter 3:8, "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years." Therefore the "end" would come in the year 6,000!
Many supposed that the second coming of Christ would take place in the year 1000, a thousand years after the first coming of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom in the earth. As the year 1000 approached the message which was emphasized throughout Christendom was that the end of the world and the final judgment were eminent. Because of this approaching event, all were advised to repent and prepare themselves for the end of time. The end did not come! Its failure to materialize was a great disappointment to the faithful, for it had been the expectation of generations of Christians. When the second coming did not happen the church system had to change its message. The next date was set in the fourteenth century -- exactly one thousand years after the church became the official religion of the Roman empire. It was taught that the rule of the church over the nations of Europe and the world was the reign of the saints with Christ over the nations, therefore the millennium would end at that time, Christ would return, the final judgment would be set, and the world would come to an end. Of course, it didn't happen then, either!
Martin Luther found that the birth of Christ was approximately 4,000 years after creation. So the year 5525 had arrived (A.D. 1525), and Luther looked for the great "wind up" near the end of six one-thousand-year days, or the year A. D. 6000. Then Luther found that Jesus had said the time would be shortened for the elect's sake (Mat. 24:22). The year 5525 was 475 years short of 6,000, and Luther concluded, because of the earth-shaking spiritual events that were taking place in his day, that the end of human history could come in the year 1525 or very soon after. Then the great world Sabbath would begin and last forever! (Luther did not believe in a literal 1,000 year reign of Christ). In 1527 Luther and a friend published a book describing two events which they regarded as "signs" of the end. Somebody had discovered the carcass of a monster with a donkey's head and a human body on the bank of the Tiber River in Rome. Luther, who believed the Pope was the Antichrist, called it the "Pope-ass." The other sure sign of the end was a calf born with a monk's cowl over its head. That meant that the end of Roman Catholicism and all false religion was at hand. That was not all. There always were wars in Europe, but the war in A.D. 1525 was different. Emperor Charles V and Pope Clement VII were fighting the war to end all wars. Jesus had said, "Nation will go to war with nation, and kingdom with kingdom" (Mat. 24:7). Kingdom with kingdom surely meant Emperor with Pope! Even that was not all. In 1524, the planets Jupiter and Saturn met in the sign of the fishes: The fish was a significant Christian symbol. Jesus had said there would be signs in the heavens and "the powers of the heavens will be shaken" (Mat. 24:29). Jesus had said, "This good news of the kingdom must be preached in all the world, for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come" (Mat. 24:14). In Luther's mind the gospel proclaimed by the Protestant Reformation was that preaching of the gospel in all the world. Therefore, the end was at hand!
In more recent times similar prophetic schemes have been promoted among the Lord's people. During the second quarter of the nineteenth century William Miller, who became the founder of the Millerite sect, traveled through New England, New York, New Jersey, and Canada, with the announcement that Christ would return in 1843. He thought he saw, plainly, the time indicated, in the scriptures, when our Lord would return. In 1818 Miller, during his systematic study of the Bible, began to focus on Daniel 8:13-14 wherein we read, "Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed." Miller concluded that "the cleansing" in this passage referred to the purification of the earth (God's sanctuary) by fire. He understood that in Biblical time-prophecies a day stands for a year, therefore there would be 2,300 years until the earth would be purged by God's fire. Using also Daniel's prophecy of the 70 weeks, Miller determined that the 2,300 day-years began with the decree of Artaxerxes in 457 B.C. to rebuild Jerusalem. This scheme is too detailed to go into here, but when one reads it, it is quite convincing to the intellectual mind. Proceeding from the beginning date of 457 B.C. Miller counted the 2,300 years forward, arriving at the year 1843 as the end. He restudied his conclusions for several years and in 1831, convinced of their certainty, began to teach and preach the second coming of Christ to take place in 1843. Being a signally gifted and scholarly man, he led thousands to adopt his views. The burden of his preaching was: Christ will soon be here; are you ready to meet Him? There were many conversions born of fear in view of the imminent appearance of Christ the Judge. The meetings of the people were often scenes of wild confusion; emotion was aroused, people fell down crying, men shouted and women fainted. Despite all the opposition of the churches to this unbounded sensationalism, Miller continued his crusade with great persistence and assurance. As the predicted day drew near many took their horses, with fodder for two or three days, and went out into the woods, expecting to be all the more likely to see all that was to be seen when once away from the crowded city. All over the States there were people who had made ascension-gowns in which to soar into the air in proper costume. They waited, and they waited. But when the year 1843 passed by without any unusual occurrence, Miller had to resort to the subterfuge that Christ had indeed come but remained in hiding temporarily because the people had not yet repented sufficiently; and when the year 1844 also passed by in the ordinary way, he finally had to admit that his calculations had been mistaken.
Pastor Russell, the spiritual father of Jehovah's Witnesses and several other groups of Bible Students, reasoned that God's plan of the ages would be worked out on earth through seven one-thousand year days. He, like many today, believed that the seventh thousand-year epoch would be the epoch of Christ's millennial reign, the great Sabbath Day of the restoration of the world and all mankind, an age of refreshment and rest from their own carnal works in which the whole creation labors and groans under the bondage of sin and death. Russell presented a detailed study of Bible chronology by which he demonstrated that 6,000 years from the creation of Adam were complete in A.D. 1874. The millennium, therefore, began in 1874 and at that time Christ returned in His spiritual presence to reign until all enemies are under His feet.
According to Russell's reckoning the forepart of the millennial age would be the "Day of the Lord," the "day of trouble," the "Great Tribulation," which would witness the breaking into pieces of the kingdoms of this world and the establishment of the Kingdom of God under the whole heavens. This great work would take one generation of forty years -- those living when Christ's invisible Presence began in 1874 would not pass away until the final end came. Therefore Russell prophesied that the Times of the Gentiles would end in 1914 and from thence forward the saints would reign over the nations. Russell further "proved" his calculations by another novel idea. In Leviticus 26 Moses prophesied that Israel's scattering among the nations would last seven times. To Russell those "seven times" were prophetic times of a day for a year, and using the day for a year theory he reasoned seven times would be 2,520 day/years. He said Israel ceased being a nation in 606 B.C. when the Babylonians destroyed their nation and carried them away into captivity. By counting seven times, or 2,520 years, from 606 B.C. he arrived at the date A.D. 1914, thus verifying his 1874 plus 40 year generation date. Russell died in 1916, admitting that things had not worked out as he anticipated -- and that was the end.
Russell's successor, the eloquent Judge Rutherford, kept alive the expectation of the speedy transformation of the living saints. He changed the time of Christ's coming in His spiritual Presence from 1874 to 1914 and said the final resurrection would take place in 1925. The burden of his message, which was spread nationally over billboards, shouted over the radio, and blazoned to the world in paid advertisements, was "Millions now living will never die!" It was a rather daring assertion, seeing that it could be so easily proved or disproved. A leading laundry, which had more humor than reverence, adopted the slogan as its own, making it read in this fashion: "We do the dyeing for the millions now living."
Then there was the Great Pyramid delusion. Back about the turn of the century a man by the name of Morton Edgar published a book titled PYRAMID PASSAGES. The thrust of this book was that the Great Pyramid of Gizeh in Egypt was built by divine wisdom and under God's direction, probably by Shem, the son of Noah, to be one of God's witnesses to men, the object of its construction being to establish in stone a record and a prophecy of God's great redemptive plan of the ages. The scriptural basis for this was Isaiah 19:19-20, "In that day there shall be an altar to the Lord in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the Lord. And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt." This "altar" and "pillar" was assumed to be the Great Pyramid -- often referred to as THE BIBLE IN STONE.
It was conjectured that every passage and chamber therein silently but eloquently symbolized in size, length, structure, etc., the whole wonderful plan of God from the heaven blest garden in Eden down to the times of the restitution of all things when every enemy should be destroyed and God would be All-in-all. Those who studied the Pyramid from that standpoint were able to locate all the major events of history there -- Creation was there, Calvary was there, the Reformation was there, the return of Christ was there, and the Millennial Age. It was all laid out neatly and precisely in the measurements, passages, chambers, and symbolism of the Great Pyramid! And, since the measurements from certain well-established points to another, for instance, from Calvary to the Reformation, were all quite precise, it followed that the measurements from the Reformation to the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom (and hence, the second coming of Christ) were conclusive. The testimony of the Great Pyramid showed irrefutably that Christ would return in 1914!
When Christ didn't make the anticipated appearance in 1914, the theory was later revised by Dr. Adam Rutherford of England. According to Rutherford's careful calculations, the entrance into the King's Chamber, typifying the beginning of the Millennial Age, would be reached on August 20, 1953. With 95% of the chronology of the passage system of the Great Pyramid supposedly already verified by history, the attention of thousands was focused upon August 20, 1953. Their expectancy was that the events of that day would demonstrate beyond question that their understanding of the purport of the Great Pyramid revelation was correct. In the summer of 1953 thousands of followers began to anticipate the development of spectacular events to climax, perhaps, with the visible appearance of Jesus, on the Great Pyramid dating of August 20. They hoped that what would occur would then firmly establish their belief in the reliability of the prophecy. But the day came and with it the failure of the hoped-for developments. Jesus didn't show up! The Millennium didn't begin! Armageddon didn't break out! NOTHING HAPPENED!
Again, the system was revised! According to Rutherford the "mistake" that had been made in his reckonings was "discovered" and duly "corrected." A new date was set: 1978. This date was bolstered by a study of the "seven times" of Israel's judgment, Daniel's 2,300 day/years, the 1,260 day/years of John's vision in the book of Revelation -- all of which, according to Rutherford's reckonings, ended in 1978-79. You see, beloved, everyone was using the very same system of deciphering the time prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation -- but each used a different starting point! Even if this application of these time prophecies is correct, the fact remains that unless one can be absolutely certain of the exact beginning point of any of them he will never wind up at the right ending point! And that does make a difference, doesn't it? The "88 Reasons why Jesus Will Come In 1988" delusion used the very same type of chronological scheme -- altered to fit their own agenda, of course. It caused hysteria and chaos all over the nation and around the world. But Jesus didn't return in 1988, either!
In July of 1978, I published an article in which I admonished the Lord's precious people, "Others are proclaiming that the Millennium will begin in 1978-79 according to the revelation of the Great Pyramid in Egypt. I must speak a word against that! I have no fear in offering to buy all your Pyramidology books for 1 cent each in 1980. I'll even pay the postage! Beloved brethren, I have no desire to be cynical about these things, but the Spirit of the Lord would have His chosen ones to get their eyes off of dates, pyramids, computers, newspaper headlines, world leaders, world events, conspiracies, supposed antichrists, beast governments, banking and economic systems, and all the rest of the ten-cent side shows which would capture the minds of those apprehended to be sons of the Most High. How much more profitably will our time and meditations be spent in LOOKING UNTO HIM. A correct understanding of all the above mentioned things (and most saints' understanding of them is not correct!) can never add one inch to our spiritual stature nor bring us to perfection in Christ. The finishing touches on God's great Building, His House of Sons, are not yet complete. 'Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves LIKE UNTO MEN THAT WAIT FOR THEIR LORD' (Lk. 12:35-36). Look unto HIM! That is the only act you can perform in this hour that will in any way hasten the Day of manifestation" -- end quote.
The error of these delusions is manifest in their repeated failure. I am sure that most of my readers remember the great 1982 Planetary Alignment hype. According to certain Fundamentalist and Charismatic preachers the "rapture" was going to take place on September 6, 1975. The "logic" for this was that in 1982 all of the nine planets of our solar system would be perfectly aligned on the same side of the sun. Two scientists, writing in Newsweek magazine, September 16, 1974, theorized about the catastrophic effect of this planetary alignment on the upper part of the atmosphere caused by the magnetic pull of this line-up of the planets on the sun, creating an increase in the magnetic activity on the sun with huge storms of sunspots and solar flares, some spreading over fifty million miles. These would greatly disrupt weather patterns around the world by sharply altering wind directions. This in turn would give our rotating planet a jolt large enough to trigger many major earthquakes in those areas of the world under severe geological strain. It was expected that the earthquakes around 1982 could destroy large populations of the earth. Some even theorized that the sun would "nova" in which case the earth would be completely burned to a cinder!
Therefore, reasoned certain preachers and teachers, since the earth would be purged by fire in 1982 (sounds like William Miller, doesn't it!), the Great Tribulation must precede that event by seven years, necessitating a beginning in 1975. Furthermore, since Jesus must come, according to their imaginings, before the Tribulation; and considering that He would come with the sound of a trumpet, and at the "last trump," it was concluded that He would split the eastern sky on the date of the FEAST OF TRUMPETS in the year 1975 -- precisely on September 6! I arrived in Big Spring, Texas on the afternoon of September 5, and found a large number of Charismatic brethren weeping, wailing, and repenting in preparation for the rapture the following day. It fell my lot to declare to the brethren assembled in the meeting where I was speaking that night that nothing, absolutely nothing, would happen the next day! Of course, Jesus didn't come on September 6, 1975 and seven years afterward the long-awaited planetary alignment turned out to be a non-event! The mischief done by these well-meaning men is all the greater when they coolly fix a fresh date when the march of time has utterly falsified their previous chronological predictions. It is still a very adulterous generation that seeks after a sign.
Let me briefly insert a partial list of date setters. These speculators set themselves up above the knowledge of God, futilely attempting to date events about which they know nothing by the Spirit of wisdom and revelation from God, in fact, dates which the Holy Spirit Himself has chosen not to reveal! It is amazing how many Christians, including many in this word of sonship and the kingdom, fall for this spectacle of scholastic manipulation! Here are only some of those who throughout church history have set dates for the coming of Christ, the beginning of the Millennium, or the end of the world. First the name, followed by the date they predicted.
Tichonius 381 Irvingites of
Hippolytus and Lactanius 500 Hans Wood 1880
Joachim of Floris 1260 Mother Shipton 1881
Michael Stiefel 1533 Joanna Southcott 1884
Isaac Newton 1715 Charles T. Russell 1914
William Whiston 1734 Edward D. Griffin 1921
Joann Albrecht Bengel 1836 Judge Rutherford 1925
William Miller 1834 William Branham 1977
Joseph Wolff 1847 Adam Rutherford 1953, 1978
Philo Britannicus 1849 Edgar Whisenat 1988
You may smile to yourself at the errors and mistakes of others, but I will incur the wrath of many well-meaning people when I declare that not a few of these chronological prognosticators are in the sonship and kingdom message, right in the midst of those sincere saints pressing on into the fullness of God. One of the fads recently occupying the attention of some has to do with JUBILEE CYCLES. One of the several theories is that there would be 40 Jubilees from A.D. 33 (Pentecost) that effectually bring us to the end of the church age. The Jubilee came every fiftieth year in Israel and forty Jubilees would be reckoned as 40 times 49 years (the 50th being the Jubilee). This would add up to 1960 years from Pentecost to the end of the church age. By adding 33 to 1960 we are brought to the year 1993. This theory was concocted before 1993, and some were expecting the manifestation of the sons of God, or at least some great move in that direction, at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles in that year. Since there was no obvious outward change in the spiritual order on that date, it has now been determined that the church age, or Pentecostal age, is typified by king Saul of old. Saul represents flesh, and the Feast of Pentecost had leaven which is construed to represent the fleshly ministry of the church systems -- the church under carnal man's control. Following the death of Saul, there was a seven year period before David was crowned king of Israel. David represents the ministry of the manifested sons of God. According to these calculations, at the end of the 40 Jubilees allotted to the church age, in a spiritual sense the carnal church systems die, or come to their end, in 1993. But the seven year lull between the death of Saul and the reign of David brings us to the year 2000. It is believed that David was crowned king in November. The inference is that in November of the year 2000 some great change is to take place -- possibly the manifestation of the sons of God! (This message is being written prior to November, 2000 in order to get it to the printer and ready to be mailed early in the year 2001).
The question follows -- by what authority does one determine that there are 40 Jubilees from the day of Pentecost to the close of the age? Where does the Bible reveal such a scheme? And how does one then reach the conclusion that the years between Saul's and David's reigns are to be applied to the years here at the end of the age: 1993-2000? The folly of such methods should be obvious! By playing with numbers, chronologies, types, dates, etc., one can take nearly any year from the time of Christ until now and make it "seem" significant. All kinds of seemingly unique and interesting things can be done with numbers, times, and types -- having nothing whatever to do with inspiration or revelation.
Look at the following predictions made by a brother. "We may see other events occur even before the end of 1999. December 29 seems to stand out as a potential date for something, since this is 2000 years from the slaughter of the children in Bethlehem. It is also 1260 days from July 16, 1996, when we began our Red Dragon wars. I had thought the 1260 days ended on January 1, 2000, but I made a mistake in calculation. It actually ends on December 29, 1999. This puts that date in a whole new perspective, since it is the 2000th anniversary of the slaughter of the children in Bethlehem. Others also say that they have had some revelation about this date that it is a time of judgment. By the time you receive this letter, we should know one way or another." Let the heart of every faithful son of God be assured of this -- that is not divine revelation, it is merely playing silly numbers games with the Word of God! We are living in a day when men without any true revelation from God are pawning off ridiculous carnal-minded calculations and intellectual tomfoolery as "end-time truth."
Those who promote these senseless "numbers games" usually use terminology like, "If our chronology is correct," "whether this proves out or not remains to be seen," "could this possibly indicate?" and numerous other carnal-minded, wishy-washy admissions that what they are writing is NOT A REVELATION FROM THE LORD but mere human speculations. This is not the foundation on which TRUTH is built! Notice the following expressions in the one short paragraph quoted above: "We may see...December 29 seems to stand out...I had thought...but I made a mistake...by the time you receive this...we should know one way or the other"!
One brother in the Kingdom message who has repeatedly, over many years, predicted dates for this and for that event, including the coming of the Lord, and has missed every time, wrote the following acknowledgment: "Now swiftly I shall set before you the proof that our Lord's return is immediately at hand; yet I cannot say that I know (with absolute and positive knowledge). It is but the human mind dealing with the Infinite; wherefore, unless the conceit be too great, we will recognize the possibility of error. Unless the Lord Himself were to appear and speak to a person, stating clearly the year, month, and the day and hour that He would return, we are not justified to use the word 'know'. But when we have sufficiently studied His Word, and weighed the massive evidence which concurs that 'these are the days', then we can certainly say that we know (are aware) that the time IS NOW. In fact, we can be far more specific by narrowing down the 'now' to the limited era of an odd few years; in fact the year and day might even be pinpointed!" If you analyze what this brother is saying, he is contending that it is possible for the human mind to figure out and pinpoint with precision the timing of events that the Lord Himself has chosen not to reveal! Obviously this man "knows" nothing because all his projections are based on calculations made by natural understanding -- the carnal mind! The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned.
Another sign of the carnality of such schemes is that they are constantly being "revised." When the prophesied dates come and go uneventfully, they then "discover" the error in their calculations and "correct" them. Hogwash! The Holy Spirit does not make mistakes. The carnal mind makes mistakes. I have made mistakes. I even expressed once that I felt the sons might be manifested within a certain decade, but I am not revising that, for it was a mistake and I have learned my own lesson from it. But some brethren never learn! They continually spew out date after date, none of which amounts to a hill of beans, and mysteriously God's precious little gullible people never seem to learn that they are being conned, for they get all excited over every new prediction. When God speaks, His word does not have to be corrected! And when we speak by the Holy Ghost our words do not need to be corrected, either. It's just as simple as that!
All predictions based on types, times, cycles, and chronologies will fail. You can put that down in your little black book. It would seem that all the mistakes of the past would provide a warning, but the inquisitiveness of carnal minds never gives up. INQUIRING CARNAL MINDS WANT TO KNOW! And let me assure you -- God will not dignify any of the foolish dates and predictions of men by doing His strange and wonderful work at that particular time! Here me now, and believe me later -- if you are assembled some year at the Feast of Tabernacles expecting the sons to be manifested at that time because man has determined from some study of types, cycles, times, or chronologies that this is the year it will happen, you can rest assured that nothing supernatural or divine will transpire and you will leave your gathering disappointed. Oh, how gullible we still are! Don't get carried away, beloved, with teachers who tickle your ears with some strange "key," some obscure "clue," some magic "formula," some alleged "cycle," or some special "understanding" of times, etc. The difference between spiritual truth and fiction is just this -- if it can be "figured out" with the natural mind it is fiction, not truth. The deep things of God are revealed by the Spirit and discerned by the Spirit, not intellectually by pouring over charts, time prophecies, historical data, world events, cycles or chronologies.
Now -- another flaw of the scheme of "figuring out" prophetic dates through the study of those things just mentioned is that our present calendar is not dependable for such usage. In fact, the calendars are so messed up that there is absolutely no way to accurately ascertain the correct date for anything -- not even the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! The proof of this is that the men who have done scholarly studies on the birth of Jesus all arrive at different conclusions! In the spring of 1999 a brother sent me his article exposing the fallacy of date-setting based on man-made calendars. I concurred then with what this brother wrote, and I still agree today.
Let me quote a portion of what this brother shared. "Our God in His marvelous creation of the heavens and the earth provided mankind with the means to determine times and seasons and days and years. 'Then God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years' (Gen. 1:14). This marvelous system of days and years has been beneficial to man down through the ages by the making of solar and lunar calendars. The lunar calendar, based on the phases of the moon, goes back to the beginning of history. Consisting of twelve lunar months, with periodic adjustments, it continues in use throughout many parts of the world. The children of Israel were using the lunar calendar in Egypt, like their forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but when the time for their exodus out of Egypt came and the night of the Passover took place, God gave Israel new meaning and new reckoning dates for their calendar. The Lord said to Moses and Aaron in Egypt, 'This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of the year' (Ex. 12:1-2, NIV). More instruction followed; on the tenth day of that month each household was to set aside a (Passover) lamb; it was to be kept until the fourteenth day of the month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel was to kill the lamb, take the blood and strike it on the two side posts and also the upper door posts of the house. Thus the house was prepared and spared from death. According to the lunar calendar, that night would be a full moon. One can only marvel at the planning of God, giving them moonlight for travel during the next several nights, enabling the exodus of probably two million people on foot, with all their cattle.
"Many centuries later, during the time of Roman domination in the known world, history tells us that Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. issued a solar calendar that was based on a 365 day year. The names of the months in the Julian calendar are still used in our present calendar. As many centuries went by, the Julian calendar continued in use and it was not till 1582 that Pope Gregory XIII replaced it with a revised calendar of 365 days with a 366 day year (leap year) every four years, each year beginning January 1, and ending the following December 31. The changes included the designating of many of the Roman Church's religious observances and holidays which still affect our lives. It is called the Gregorian calendar and is probably the most commonly used today for international datelines, international trade and record keeping. It is the same calendar that hangs in your kitchen, marked with your schedules and appointments.
"When this present year (1999) runs out these calendars will read year 2000 which is really a non-event, just another New Year's day, but the news media is carrying stories of how millennium fever is showing up in many places. One article stated that even in Christian circles individuals and house holds take this change very seriously. Two men said they have been stockpiling goods for the past year: a gas-powered generator, a solar-powered lamp, six-gallon pails of grain, 55 gallon drums of water, canned goods and extra clothes. Others told of digging their own back-yard wells. In addition to the interviews a poll showed that among those who take the Bible literally, 40% believed that the new millennium is tied to Christ's return. Among those who are not Biblical literalists, only 18% said so.
"This leaflet is written in April of 1999 with the intent of showing that the new millennium and the transition from one century to the next is a man-made situation and our God with His plans and purposes is not involved. He will continue to flow out to this world with His grace just as He has done for almost two millenniums. Our man-made calendars, useful as they are, have no connection to any Biblical prophecy or coming event. On December 31 of 1999 the earth will continue to rotate and at midnight the Gregorian calendar will change to January 1, 2000.
"One other matter of concern to many people is the man-made Y2K computer problem that could possibly cause some isolated disruptions in older computers. Those problems, made by men, will be worked out by men. The days and years of time will continue to roll by until the day comes, known only to God, when He will intervene in the affairs of men and assume His authority in this world. God has His own calendar...when God intervenes, the times and seasons of HIS CALENDAR will bring great blessing to this world, changing every individual and all life upon this earth...we are encouraged by the Lord to pray for His Kingdom to come" -- David R. Hettema. And let me hastily add -- GOD'S CALENDAR is simply that which HE REVEALS TO HIS PEOPLE BY THE SPIRIT! That is how we know the times and seasons, that is how we gain enlightenment about what God is going to do -- God reveals His plans and purposes by revelation of the Holy Ghost! If you don't have a word from God, my friend, then stay out of the date-setting business. The hour is too late, and God's purposes too serious, to be playing games. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches!"
THE GLOOM AND DOOM FOLLY
A "gloom and doom" interpretation of history and world events sees culture and history descending into a diabolical abyss in which all of society degenerates until the Antichrist takes over and the Lord has to come back to save what is left of the church. The "gloom and doomers" keep track of every famine and earthquake, view the enemies of our nation, and even our own politicians, as involved in dark and sinister conspiracies for our destruction and the overthrow of God, watch every planetary lineup and extra-terrestrial activity, observe every new world leader to see if he might be the Antichrist, and expect communism, the new age movement, or a one-world government to take over any day. Gloom and doom sees the coming of the Lord and the manifestation of His Kingdom in relation to a series of "end-time" cataclysmic events and over-whelming evil, rather than a progressive new stage of God's intensified dealings with humanity. The gloom and doomers think that when things get bad enough -- God will be forced to step in and do something!
No matter what you have been hearing about the dark and dreadful things to come upon the earth, let me tell you something about the doomsday prophecies that keep coming year after year and decade after decade. Sherlock Holmes once solved a famous murder case by noticing what did not happen. He observed that the victim's dog did not bark on the night of the crime. Therefore the dog -- and hence the victim -- must have known the assailant. The rest was easy. So it is in the events of the end time. What hasn't happened -- for instance, a great Doomsday Crash mindlessly foretold by the parrots of pessimism year after year -- has tremendous significance by its very absence! Despite all the prophets of gloom and doom the communists have not taken over, America has not been invaded, California has not fallen into the ocean, the economy has not crashed, the government has not declared marshal law, the churches have not been closed, our money has not been confiscated, our old money was not called in when the new money was printed, Clinton was not our last president, the Antichrist (as people think of him) is nowhere to be seen, we have not been laser-tattooed with 666 on the forehead, Y2K went the way of all flesh and the folks who fled to remote areas with their generators, out-houses, guns, and stockpiles of food had plenty to eat for a while before creeping back into civilization -- and the sons of God continue to be processed and matured for the Day of Unveiling! Only the word of the Lord has stood! All the false prophets have been proven liars, and God alone is true! In my files over the past twenty years or so, I have purposely saved booklets and papers in which people have set dates for devastating tidal waves, killer earthquakes, the collapse of the money system, the fall of America, and a host of other ominous events, which I refer to from time to time. With the passing of time, their falseness is evident -- not one single prophecy of gloom and doom has come to pass! Ah, Sherlock Holmes, what is missing is significant!
All these doomsday apocalyptic pictures of the end of the age, the antichrist, the great tribulation, etc., are based upon carnal-minded interpretations of certain prophecies in the Bible, have nothing whatever to do with the unfolding of the Kingdom of God on earth, are completely irrelevant to God's purposes for this hour, and simply do not enter into the equation at all. They are founded upon a confusion of thought -- a failure to understand the scriptures by the Spirit. The expositors take totally unrelated and disconnected passages from different parts of the Bible, and weave them together into an elaborate tapestry which is pure fiction. The scriptures that are put together to prove the end-time events of the rapture, the antichrist, the great tribulation, the seven year covenant with the Jews, the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem, the revived Roman empire, one world government, and all the other imagined happenings at the end of the age -- when understood by the spirit of wisdom and revelation, these concepts make no more spiritual sense than the moronic letter I read one time that goes like this:
Dear So and So, I set down pencil in hand to typewrite you a letter (excuse the pen). I don't live where I lived before. I moved to where I live now. When you come to see me, ask anyone where I live, because no one knows. I'm so sorry we're so far together, I wish we were never apart. We are having more weather this year than last year. I started to Fulton to see you last week and I saw a sign that said, "This takes you to Fulton." So I got on the sign and set there for three hours and the crazy thing never moved. I mailed you an overcoat, but took off the buttons to make it lighter (those in the pockets). If you don't get this letter let me know and I'll mail it to you. I would have sent you the $600.00 I owe you, but I didn't think of it until after I had sealed this letter. Enclosed you will find a picture, but for fear it would get lost, I took it out.
Yours very truly,
THE LITTLE MORON
That letter, my friend, makes absolutely as much common sense as most preachers' prophetic teaching makes spiritual sense! If you escape this confusion and refuse to be moved by the fleshly sensationalism of uninspired literalistic prophetic interpretations of men, then you have taken the first step into the revelation of the Kingdom of God!
Let me quote a passage which I am sure you have heard as descriptive of our times and the signs of the end of the age. "Our earth is degenerate in these latter days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; every man wants to write a book, and the end of the world is evidently approaching." What a sad commentary of the times! But what times? These words are inscribed on a tablet in a museum in Constantinople, Turkey. They were written 2,800 years before Christ -- and yet it sounds so modern! Here's another: "Our youths love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority -- they show disrespect for their elders, and love to chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when their elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up food, and tyrannize teachers." This was written by the philosopher Socrates in 400 B.C.!
Today we pick up a newspaper and read of all these things happening, so we are assured that the prophecies of the Bible are being fulfilled, and we conclude that it must be about THE END -- based on external evidence. "Darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people." "In the last days perilous times shall come..." The doom-casters quote every verse that speaks of negative conditions in the outer world, yet they have not the foggiest notion of the awesome inward work of God in His sons to bring forth a NEW ORDER IN CHRIST. They know what the world is doing, but have no idea of what GOD IS DOING! They must look to the world around for the signs of the end of the age. They must see and hear in the fleshly realm around them with their natural eyes and ears, and with the understanding of the carnal mind. They can understand outer, natural, earthly, dark things, but cannot hear and see in the Spirit and by the Spirit. They lack spiritual vision and understanding. But God's elect are not spiritually blind! They are not dependent upon what the eye sees and the ear hears and the carnal mind comprehends. The Lord would not have chosen us if we were stuck in that realm! He has given us His faith, vision, and understanding. Now we live by His faith, we hear truth by the voice of His Spirit, we see with spiritual eyes enlightened by Him, and we understand with the mind of Christ.
There are many who feel that every earth-shaking event that shocks the public must be a sign of the "end-time," and we must make certain that we are prepared for the "doom day" which is upon us. Millions of Christians suffer from a malady called the "Doomsday Syndrome." They constantly fear what the future holds. Hardly a day goes by that we don't hear some doomsday disciple pronouncing imminent judgment and damnation. Babylon's preachers and teachers continually have a hey-day with sensational world events, trying to make them fit the fulfillment of specific Bible prophecies, speculating about their meaning, projecting, predicting, and even prophesying about their outcome, and never apologizing for all their past mistakes and erroneous conclusions. Every year a new super-disaster hoax is promoted among gullible Christians.
To the above brother Paul Mueller adds this timely testimony: "Our Lord has said, 'The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness' (Mat. 6:22-23). We are entering a new age of increased Light. A new day has begun in the world! It is a new day of the Light and glory of Christ in a greater measure. This new kingdom Day is a Day when the darkness is being dispelled by the Light of Christ. And all who are awake and aware are keeping their single, spiritual eye focused on Christ and the wonderful things He is now doing in all the world as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. No longer do we see only the negative things taking place in the world. Now we see that Christ is reigning, and things are changing because of His increased dominion in our lives and in the world around us. Messages of doom, gloom and darkness cannot possibly bring anyone to sonship fulfilled.
"In this new Day the Lord is changing our spiritual diets! He is giving us the type of messages that are necessary to our spiritual growth, messages that will bring about our change. The Lord's chosen elect must have God's pure word that gives them hope! Yesterday's messages of doom, gloom and darkness will only discourage and defeat us. To read and assimilate the negative stories coming from the news media, or even from the writings of some current 'come-outers,' will keep us in defeat and cannot help but adversely affect both our minds and our bodies.
"To read and speak of war, lawlessness, immorality, violence, tribulation, distress of nations, and all the other ills of the world, only fills us with darkness. And darkness only begets more darkness within us! We need a single eye in this great Day that sees only the Lord and His great glory. We must feast on the royal food of the kingdom! We must feed on food that begets Light within us. We must feast on Christ to the full! Let nothing turn your single eye away from Him. There are those who would saturate your mind and wrap it in the darkness of man and his shadowy world. But this will only impede your spiritual growth! The wise will keep their minds centered on Christ and the positive, kingdom work He is now doing in this great Day. This indeed is the way to sonship! This is the path to the throne of God! And this is the route that leads to the fullness of the Life of Christ and the glory of the kingdom of God!"
I was once among those who believed the negative predictions of man. But I must confess, something wonderful has happened to me! I spent a lot of my early life and ministry with an "apocalyptic mentality." By apocalyptic I mean that mentality that is always looking for the end of the age with great cataclysmic upheavals and tremendous earth-shaking events -- kingdoms falling, nuclear bombs exploding, economies crashing, and all those violent, catastrophic happenings that are supposed to take place in the world. I was looking for that. In 1964 I believed the issue was God and Goldwater, and I just felt that if Goldwater didn't win the election, brother, this country was down the tube, the antichrist would rise up in the earth, and we would be in great tribulation. We watched the stock market, because we knew if it crashed, the jig was really up! We were concerned about the Russians, the Chinese, the Illuminati, and a thousand other things.
God delivered me from that apocalyptic mentality! It takes the same power of God to deliver one from that spirit as it takes to deliver one from any other demon. You see, every nation of earth has experienced economic collapse, including ours. Every nation has had war and destruction. All the saints of God from time immemorial have suffered persecution. "All that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12). Two thousand years ago the apostle John wrote, "Even now there are many antichrists." All these things have been happening out there in that external world for ages, but let me tell you, it has nothing whatever to do with the Kingdom of God. NOTHING! None of those things will herald the Kingdom or bring the Kingdom. Only the nature of the Father formed in His elect, only the full measure of the stature of Christ found in God's New Creation Man, only the power of God upon His people, only the glory of God in His sons, will signal the hour of transition into the greater glory of His incorruptible and all-conquering Kingdom of God!
The mind of Christ is now being imparted to God's elect in greater fullness. By the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the glorious mind of Christ we are beginning to see all things as they really are. We are now seeing new things, a new heaven and a new earth. This knowledge and vision come not by any outward observation, but by the mighty working of God in our lives. This is a marvelous transition for me and for the body of Christ, as I trust it is the reality of all who read these lines, who are moving on in God. The hope and promise and power and glory of the Kingdom of God burn more brightly in my spirit today than at any time in the past. I rejoice that this is the DAY of manifestation when Christ and His body shall see the Kingdom triumph and reign over the nations. bringing Life, Light, Love and Peace to all mankind. This is the Present Truth. This is what the Spirit IS SAYING to the overcomers in this great hour! Hallelujah! Great and glorious things are at hand!
To be continued...
J. PRESTON EBY
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J. Preston Eby
P.O. Box 371240
El Paso TX 79937-1240
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